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Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)

Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Relicensing of the Boundary Hydroelectric Project No. 2144-038 and the Surrender of the Sullivan Creek Project No. 2225-015
Issued: September 9, 2011

Commission staff prepared a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the relicensing of the City of Seattle's existing 1,003-megawatt Boundary Hydroelectric Project (Boundary Project), and the surrender of the Public Utility District No. 1 of Pend Oreille County's (District) Sullivan Creek Project (operated as a storage project). The Boundary Project is located on the Pend Oreille River in Pend Oreille County, Washington. The Sullivan Creek Project is located on Sullivan Lake, and Sullivan Creek and Outlet Creek, tributaries to the Pend Oreille River that empty into the Boundary Project reservoir. Both projects occupy lands within the Colville National Forest.

On September 29, 2009, the City of Seattle, Washington (Seattle) filed application to relicense the Boundary Project. On March 29, 2010, Seattle and the District jointly filed an offer of settlement, consisting of two comprehensive settlement agreements, a joint explanatory statement and a request to consolidate the processing of Seattle's relicensing of the Boundary Project with the District's surrender of its license for the Sullivan Creek Project. Subsequently, on April 2, 2010, the District filed an application to surrender its license for the Sullivan Creek Project.

The Boundary settlement agreement includes obligations for evaluating and providing fish passage for resident salmonids, reducing fish entrainment, improving aquatic habitat, stocking fish for recreational purposes, conserving native fish, groundwater well-decommissioning, acquiring and managing land for wildlife, and other measures for recreation and cultural resource enhancement and protection. Under the Sullivan Creek settlement agreement, the District would retain and operate under a Forest Service Special Use Authorization the Sullivan Lake dam and lake; install a new cold-water release intake at Sullivan Lake dam; remove Mill Pond dam, restore the site and the stream channel, and conduct short-term monitoring and maintenance to ensure the restored channel is functioning as designed. These settlement agreements, and the measures contained therein, are intended to provide significant benefits to resources within the Pend Oreille River and its tributaries, while retaining Seattle's operational flexibility and reducing costs of the Sullivan Lake Project surrender on Pend Oreille rate payers.

The final EIS assesses the effects of both settlement agreements and staff modifications to those agreements. The staff's recommendation is to relicense the Boundary Project as proposed, with certain modifications and additional measures to improve administration of the license. The staff also recommends approval of the surrender application as proposed, with certain modifications to mitigate adverse effects to cultural resources and improve Commission oversight and administration of the surrender.